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Research


April 12, 2016

UW undergraduate team wins $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for gloves that translate sign language

These "SignAloud" gloves developed by UW students contain sensors that record hand position and movement and transmit data wirelessly to a central computer, which uses algorithms to recognize and translate sign language gestures.

Two University of Washington undergraduates have won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their “SignAloud” invention — gloves that can translate American Sign Language into text or speech.


April 8, 2016

UW-led research team wins $7.5M MURI grant to defend against advanced cyberattacks

photo of Radha Poovendran

A University of Washington-led research team has won a $7.5 million, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense to better model and mount defenses against stealthy, continuous computer hacking attacks known as “advanced persistent threats.”


April 7, 2016

UW team stores digital images in DNA — and retrieves them perfectly

Lee Organick, a UW computer science and engineering research scientist, mixes DNA samples for storage. Each tube contains a digital file, which might be a picture of a cat or a Tchaikovsky symphony.

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have developed one of the first complete systems to store digital data in DNA — allowing one to store data that today would fill a Walmart supercenter in a space the size of a sugar cube.


April 6, 2016

3 University of Washington professors recognized by Guggenheim Foundation

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Three University of Washington professors are among the 178 scholars, artists, and scientists from the U.S. and Canada recognized this year by the Guggenheim Foundation.


UW-led field project watching clouds from a remote island off Antarctica

penguins in front of research station

From a tiny island halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, scientists hope to learn more about the physics of clouds above the stormy, inhospitable Southern Ocean.


Marine preserve to help penguins in a ‘predictably unpredictable’ place

A Galapagos penguin.

New regulations by the government of Ecuador to protect the waters around the Galapagos Islands as a marine preserve, including main feeding areas for Galapagos penguins.


April 5, 2016

UW joins public-private partnership for flexible electronics

An example of flexible hybrid electronics.

The University of Washington has joined NextFlex, a consortium of 30 academic institutions and industrial partners to develop the next generation of flexible electronic devices. As a founding member of this alliance, the UW will seek local and regional partners in the electronics and manufacturing industries to develop and produce flexible electronics for applications from…


April 4, 2016

Scientists recommend immediate plan to combat changes to West Coast seawater chemistry

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Global carbon dioxide emissions are triggering troubling changes to ocean chemistry along the West Coast that require immediate, decisive actions to combat through a coordinated regional approach, a panel of scientific experts has unanimously concluded.


The Twittersphere does listen to the voice of reason — sometimes

WestJet tweet screenshot

In the maelstrom of information, opinion and conjecture that is Twitter, the voice of truth and reason does occasionally prevail, according to a new study from UW researchers. Tweets from “official accounts” — the government agencies, emergency responders, media or companies at the center of a fast-moving story — can slow the spread of rumors on Twitter and correct misinformation that’s taken on a life of its own.


Bilingual baby brains show increased activity in executive function regions

Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, UW

Many brain studies show that bilingual adults have more activity in areas associated with executive function, a set of mental abilities that includes problem-solving, shifting attention and other desirable cognitive traits. Now new findings reveal that this bilingualism-related difference in brain activity is evident as early as 11 months of age, just as babies are…


April 1, 2016

Interdisciplinary conference April 8 to study sights, sounds of ‘difference’

Photo by Katherine Turner.

What do scholars and academics mean when they talk about “difference”? The University of Washington Simpson Center for the Humanities and Center for Communication, Difference & Equity will hold an interdisciplinary daylong conference April 8 to study such questions, focusing in particular on how difference looks and sounds.


To be sustainable, conservation needs to consider the human factor

The Salmon Dancer Canoe Family paddles along the shorelines of Swinomish.

The authors of a new paper in Science propose a set of social indicators that can be used to gauge how ecosystem management affects four essential factors in human lives: well-being, values, the ability to act purposefully and inequality. Considering such indicators, they note, serves not only to describe what exists but to define what is important in setting sustainability goals.


Global ocean fish populations could increase while providing more food, income

PNAS_global fisheries

Most of the world’s wild fisheries could be at healthy levels in just 10 years, and global fish populations could greatly increase by 2050 with better fishing approaches, according to a new study co-authored by University of Washington researchers.


March 30, 2016

Tracking ‘marine heatwaves’ since 1950 – and how the ‘blob’ stacks up

Picture graph

A tally of Northern Hemisphere marine heatwaves since 1950 shows that prolonged warm periods have recurred regularly in the past, but are being pushed into new territory by climate change.


March 24, 2016

Study: Most tweets following fall Paris attacks defended Islam, Muslims

twitter-informationschool-islamTILE

The fall 2015 Paris terrorist attacks sparked heated social media debates about Islam. A researcher now with the UW Information School, with collaborators, analyzed millions of tweets after those attacks and found most tweets actually expressed support for Islam and Muslims.


March 22, 2016

Rebecca Thorpe’s book ‘American Warfare State’ honored

"The American Warfare State: The Domestic Politics of Military Spending," by Rebecca Thorpe, UW assistant professor of political science. Published in 2014 by University of Chicago Press.

UW political scientist Rebecca Thorpe’s book “The American Warfare State: The Domestic Politics of Military Spending,” has been honored by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation — the second award the well-received book has earned.


March 21, 2016

Better safe than sorry: Babies make quick judgments about adults’ anger

Baby looks at people fighting, frightened

Adults often form fast opinions about each other’s personalities, especially when it comes to negative traits. If we see someone argue with another driver over a parking space, for instance, we may assume that person tends to be confrontational. Two new research studies with hundreds of 15-month-old infants demonstrate that babies form similar generalizations about…


March 17, 2016

Galapagos lakes reveal tropical Pacific climate since Biblical times

three people on water

University of Washington oceanographers track 2,000 years of El Niño history, showing that it can shift in strength for centuries at a time.


March 16, 2016

New technique tracks ‘heartbeat’ of hundreds of wetlands

Wetland in Douglas County, Washington.

UW researchers have developed a new method to track how wetlands in Eastern Washington behave seasonally, which will also help monitor how they change as the climate warms.


March 15, 2016

Medicine, nursing programs top national rankings; dozens more UW programs highly rated

Gerberding Hall on Red Square. Seattle campus, December 26th, 2013. Photo by Katherine B. Turner

For the 22nd time in the past 23 years, the University of Washington ranked as the No. 1 primary care medical school in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Graduate School rankings released Tuesday. The rural medicine and family medicine programs have also led the nation since those rankings began in 1992. In a…


Smartwatches can now track your finger in mid-air using sonar

Photo of FingerIO on phone

A new sonar technology developed by University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers allows you to interact with mobile devices and smartwatch screens by writing or gesturing on any nearby surface — a tabletop, a sheet of paper or even in mid-air.


March 14, 2016

Documents that Changed the World: ‘Hanging chads’ and butterfly ballots — Florida, 2000

A "butterfly" ballot from Florida for the 2000 presidential election.

With the Florida presidential primary a day away, Joe Janes is recalling the time of butterfly ballots and “hanging chads” — the presidential election of 2000 — in the latest installment of his podcast series, Documents that Changed the World. In the podcasts, Janes, a professor in the UW Information School, explores the origin and…


March 9, 2016

Quintard Taylor’s BlackPast.org history site gets redesign, first executive director

Chieko Phillips

BlackPast.org, the online reference guide to African-American history started by University of Washington history professor Quintard Taylor, is getting an executive director — Chieko Phillips — and a website redesign.


Darkening of Greenland ice sheet due mainly to older, melting snow

ice with dark patches

A study by the UW and others finds that the darkening of the Greenland ice sheet is not due to an increase in wildfires, but is a side effect of a warming climate.


March 8, 2016

Family technology rules: What kids expect of parents

family photo

A new UW study is among the first to explore children’s expectations for parents’ technology use — revealing kids’ feelings about fairness and “oversharing,” the most effective types of household technology rules and families’ most common approaches.


March 3, 2016

$750,000 Mellon Foundation grant will fund research, collaboration in arts

bandaloop-2

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Washington a three-year, $750,000 grant to support guest artists in developing new works, and to better integrate arts disciplines into the broader university curriculum.

The grant will support a Creative Fellowships Initiative, under which guest performing artist fellows will be recruited from around the world for one- to three-year residencies in dance, music and theater.


February 29, 2016

Life or illusion? Avoiding ‘false positives’ in the search for living worlds

New research from the University of Washington-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory will help astronomers better identify and rule out "false positives" in the ongoing search for life. Shown is a NASA illustration of Kepler 62E about 1,200 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.

New research from the UW-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory will help astronomers better identify — and thus rule out — “false positives” in the search for life beyond Earth.


Doctor, patient expectations differ on fitness and lifestyle tracking

Image of phones with running apps

With apps and activity trackers measuring every step people take, morsel they eat, and each symptom or pain, patients commonly arrive at doctor’s offices armed with self-tracked data. Yet health care providers lack the capacity or tools to review five years of Fitbit logs or instantaneously interpret data patients have been collecting about themselves, according to new UW research.


NASA data used to track groundwater in Pakistan

Picture of groundwater fieldwork

Pakistan’s water managers are using NASA satellites to more effectively monitor groundwater supplies, thanks to a partnership with UW civil and environmental engineers. It’s part of a larger effort to use the vast amount of data and observations collected by Earth-orbiting satellites to better quality of life in developing countries.


Statewide home sales, affordability up in fourth quarter of 2015

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Home sale prices were up fractionally in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the third quarter but up 9.7 percent compared with the previous year, according to the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.


February 26, 2016

Transgender children supported in their identities show positive mental health

Kristina Olson

Studies of mental health among transgender people in the United States have been consistently grim, showing higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. But almost nothing is known about the mental health of a new and growing generation of transgender Americans — prepubescent children who are living openly as transgender with the support of their…


February 25, 2016

Driverless cars could increase reliance on roads

Photo of driverless car

Driverless vehicles could intensify car use — reducing or even eliminating promised energy savings and environmental benefits, a new study co-authored by a University of Washington researcher finds. If people can work, relax and even hold meetings in their fully automated vehicles, they may drive more.


Documents that Changed the World: The Declaration of Independence’s deleted passage on slavery, 1776

The latest installment of Information School professor Joe Janes' podcast series Documents that Changed the World discusses the 168 powerful words condemning slavery that were removed from the Declaration of Independence.

The latest installment of Information School professor Joe Janes’ podcast series Documents that Changed the World discusses 168 powerful words condemning slavery that were excised from the Declaration of Independence at the last minute.


Herring fishery’s strength is in the sum of its parts, study finds

Pacific herring.

Just like a strong financial portfolio contains shares from different companies, the diverse subpopulations of herring from different bays and beaches around Puget Sound collectively keep the total population more stable, a new study finds.


February 24, 2016

University of Washington, Gonzaga University announce UW medical school partnership, launch initiative to advance medical education and research in Spokane region

UW+GU_NEWS_STORY_V.1

The University of Washington and Gonzaga University have signed an agreement to continue, enhance and expand medical education and research in Spokane.


Clean, efficient cookstoves from UW-industry partnership to be manufactured in Kenya

Photo of woman testing stove in Kenya

A more efficient and clean wood-burning cookstove — developed by Vashon Island’s BURN Design Lab and UW mechanical engineers — will reduce the amount of fuel families need to collect or buy by 55 percent. It will also reduce exposure to the harmful particulate pollution produced by traditional cooking flames.


February 23, 2016

For weather forecasting, precise observations matter more than butterflies

thunderstorm with butterflies

Small disturbances, like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, don’t really matter for weather forecasts. More important is boosting the accuracy of observations at larger scales.


UW engineers achieve Wi-Fi at 10,000 times lower power

UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated "passive" Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power.

With “Passive Wi-Fi,” UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. The system can transmit Wi-Fi signals at rates up to 11 megabits per second — lower than maximum Wi-Fi speeds but 11 times faster than Bluetooth — that can be decoded on any of the billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity.


Four UW scientists awarded Sloan Fellowships for early-career research

campus-TILE

Four faculty members at the University of Washington have been awarded early-career fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Sloan Fellows, announced Feb. 23, include Bingni Brunton, assistant professor of biology; Christopher Laumann, assistant professor of physics; Matthew McQuinn, assistant professor of astronomy; and Emina Torlak, assistant professor of computer science and engineering….


February 22, 2016

University of Washington named a ‘top producer’ of Fulbright students

globe-TILE

The University of Washington is one of the top producers of Fulbright students for 2015-16, according to lists released Monday in the Chronicle of Higher Education.



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